Fo­cus on work­ing to­gether, in­stead of dwelling on di­vi­sions, Africans urged

Daily News - - NEWS - NONI MOKATI

IN­STEAD of dwelling on fac­tors that di­vide the con­ti­nent, Africa’s in­hab­i­tants should fo­cus on work­ing to­gether.

“Why are we talk­ing about so­cio-eco­nomic is­sues when we have crops and gold? We shouldn’t be talk­ing about xeno­pho­bia. Africans should be talk­ing about how we avoid a sit­u­a­tion where our re­sources are stolen and it goes out of the con­ti­nent to ben­e­fit other coun­tries. Let’s look at the big­ger pic­ture,” said Anele Ndlovu, Pres­i­dent of the Zim­babwe-SA Fo­rum.

He was speak­ing at the in­au­gu­ral launch of the Voices 360 Di­a­logue hosted by In­de­pen­dent Me­dia in Joburg.

He joined rep­re­sen­ta­tives within the Zim­babwe, Nige­ria, Malawi, Congo and So­ma­lia Di­as­pora who met with aca­demics and com­mu­nity mem­bers to en­gage in a ro­bust dis­cus­sion on their ex­pe­ri­ences of xeno­pho­bia, its root causes, and how it can be mit­i­gated.

Ndlovu said Africans did not un­der­stand the value chain sys­tem.

“We don’t know how to rec­on­cile our own wealth. That is a big prob­lem,” he said, adding that no one ben­e­fited when Africans fought each other.

Ndlovu also high­lighted that black-on-black ha­tred needed to end.

“If the Amer­i­cans, Chi­nese, In­di­ans were at­tacked, we would call this xeno­pho­bia. But it’s strange that Africans bow down when Euro­peans land in the coun­try, but when a Zim­bab­wean lands next door, he or she is beaten to a pulp. These are is­sues we need to look at closely,” he said.

Marc Gbaf­fou, African Di­as­pora Fo­rum chair­per­son, said just as South Africans acted col­lec­tively against racism, they should speak out against xeno­pho­bia.

Defin­ing

“Why is it South Africans spend so much time defin­ing the vi­o­lence?” Gbaf­fou asked.

He said em­bat­tled KwaZu­luNatal es­tate agent Penny Spar­row was taken to task over her com­ments. He said the same needed to hap­pen when non-na­tion­als were maimed and killed just for be­ing from an­other coun­try.

At­tacks on for­eign na­tion­als in 2008 in Alexan­dra town­ship in­tro­duced what many now re­fer to as black-on-black ha­tred.

These at­tacks had not stopped through­out the years, and had been at­trib­uted to so­cio-eco­nomic is­sues, among other things.

The chair­per­son of the South African chap­ter of the All Nige­rian Na­tion­als in the Di­as­pora, Emeka John­son, high­lighted that his home coun­try was the most vil­i­fied mi­grant na­tion in South Africa.

“Nige­ri­ans are be­ing given the pic­ture of be­ing the most no­to­ri­ous mi­gra­tion in SA, but this is a fal­lacy. Nige­ri­ans are found in ev­ery nook and cranny of the con­ti­nent, and con­trib­ute im­mensely,” he said.

Malaw­ian na­tional Moses Chume ex­plained that mem­bers of their com­mu­nity were con­stantly hounded by the po­lice, and that in­ter­ven­tion was needed.

Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion re­search ad­viser to ad­vo­cate Ncumisa Wil­lie, Bon­gani Ma­jola, said once is­sues of so­cio-eco­nomic rights were dis­cussed, the coun­try would go a step fur­ther in ad­dress­ing the scourge of xeno­pho­bia.

“There are com­mu­ni­ties where non-na­tion­als and South Africans live peace­fully. In in­stances where at­tacks have hap­pened, there have been South Africans who have gone out of their way in as­sist­ing for­eign na­tion­als. These are in­stances we can look at and learn from and ask our­selves what are the con­di­tions for peace­ful co-ex­is­tence be­tween South Africans and non-na­tion­als,” she said.

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